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Maila Nurmi, RIP


Maila Nurmi, aka, Vampira, died Thursday, Jan. 10, in her sleep at her Hollywood home. She was 86. MSTies will recall that she appeared, buried under a ton of makeup, as the sorceress hag in the movie in episode 411 – THE MAGIC SWORD.

Born in 1921 in Finland, the model and struggling actress attended a Hollywood costume party one night as a Charles Addams character that would later be named Morticia Addams. A party-goer immediately hired Maila as a hostess for a Saturday night horror movie show on television. She created the onscreen persona of Vampira, but she had trouble parlaying this success into a larger career.

It was her first movie, the infamous “Plan 9 from Outer Space” by Ed Wood, that would gain her fame, although much later than its 1959 release (it was filmed in 1956). Nurmi made few other films, and by an odd coincidence, she made three with Mamie Van Doren: The Beat Generation (1959), The Big Operator (1959), and Sex Kittens Go to College (1960).

Even though she wasn’t in the movie in episode 423-BRIDE OF THE MONSTER, she did publicity stunts by appearing in public with the Bride’s cast. Since the 1960s, Nurmi made a living selling her paintings and tombstone rubbings from celebrity graves. She had an unsuccessful lawsuit against a similar looking hostess of scary flicks, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

UPDATE: Variety obit here and very nice Associated Press obit here.

5 Replies to “Maila Nurmi, RIP”

  1. Chris says:

    Her official website has the news:


  2. I can’t imagine why this isn’t being reported by any proper news media. It’s sad when the great old ones fade into the background like that.


  3. Andrew says:

    And I just got Vampira: The Movie for Christmas. Man this is depressing news to hear and even more so that it’s not being widely reported.


  4. beth563 says:

    I never really liked this woman ever since she had the audacity to disparage James Dean.


  5. Big61al says:

    Really sad news. She had a special place in the hearts of old horror film lovers. She was one of a kind!


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